In Dublin’s Fair City, where the girls kick you silly

Dublin is a city that works well in movies.  I can buy it as a place where buskers fulfill their dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom.  It’s fine as the backdrop for a musical comedy about a bunch of unemployed soul singers being black and proud.  In Steven Sodabread’s new movie Haywire, however, it’s painfully obvious that you need a New York or a London to make a spy thriller.

It wasn’t familiarity with my birthplace that make it hard to suspend disbelief, even though Gina Carano‘s teaky depiction of rogue agent Mallory appeared to run around Dublin with nothing but contempt for natural laws of geography.  In one chase sequence she appeared to have crossed the Liffey three times without using a bridge, which can only mean that Aperture Science has joined Amazon, Facebook and Twitter in basing their European offices there.

It wasn’t even the fact that a room at the Shelbourne Hotel was trashed and no-one bothered to complain until the following morning.  “Calm down,” I muttered, “it’s still more realistic than Leap Year.”

No, what made me realise that this was pure fantasy was the fact that Grafton Street still had shops open and people spending money.  There’s suspension of disbelief and then there’s the pure naivety of believing Ireland still has an economy.

What about the rest of the movie?  Remember the sort of show that would be on Saturday evenings on ITV in the eighties?  That’s exactly it – Haywire felt like a pilot for one of those bloodless, gung-ho, let’s-shoot-a-lot-of-weapons-and-have-a-bit-of-fighting-before-bathtime and nothing more nuanced than a two-part episode of the A-Team.

I’m not saying the parts of the story wedged between the She-ra-esque set pieces were dull but, at one point, an actual tumbleweed rolled past in the mid-distance as Michael Douglas tried to exposit his way out of a paper-thin plot.  Still, at ninety minutes, it’s not going to be too much of your life wasted.

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“Gandhi without Gandhi’s mush poppin’ up”

Never mind what I think – this is the best review of The Social Network out there.

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You have 500 Million Friends

the social network
Image by whipsmart via Flickr

Everyone’s on Facebook, right?  Poking, messaging, friend requests, liking, and other every day words take on their own meanings on this website.  A website that has a population equal to the whole EU, has overtaken email, texting, and the telephone as a means of communication and still manages to grow despite a small (but extremely vocal) community of detractors that think it needs to be shut down.

Sorkin and Fincher’s movie, based on The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, doesn’t touch on the minutiae of the privacy activists concerns, but rather delivers a tight precis of the Facebook’s birth pangs and subsequent legal fallout.

More sympathetic to Zuckerberg than I would have imagined, the movie seems to be the beginning of a narative that portrays the Facebook co-founder as a misunderstood genius (possibly with Asperger’s) that just wants to be loved. Sorkin is at his best when allowed to write fast paced dialogue and interweaving the various legal issues with the Facebook story stopped the movie from grinding to a halt or becoming a spiritual sequel to A Few Good Men.

Love it or hate it Facebook is here and most people will continue to use the site until they finally get bored with talking to each other.  Open source initiatives like Diaspora may gain some currency with a certain type of user, but they won’t ever be as cool, and as Zukerberg’s character says in the movie, Facebook is nothing if it’s not cool.

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